AASAS E-News Feature – Saffron Centre Child and Adolescent Programs
The SARRFON Centre, located in Sherwood Park just outside of Edmonton, offers free proficient Child and Adolescent Programs for ages 3 to 17 years old. Children that seek services at SAFFRON have the choice of participating in therapy though play, expressive arts, EMDR, or sand play. The center uses mindfulness exercises, books, and talking to help the child process and integrate their experience, strengthen their boundaries and resilience, and be introduced to the idea of post-traumatic growth.
Intakes for programs can be done on behalf of a child or youth by someone who has custody for that child through telephone or in person from 8:30am to 4:30pm weekdays. SAFFRON also accepts contracts through Children’s Services and Catholic Social Services. Older youth may self-refer. All persons with custody must sign consent forms for a minor child to attend sessions at SAFFRON.
SAFFRON’s counselling program for children and youth can be described by the word “choice”. Children come to the program because someone else took away their choice to have a childhood unmarked by sexual violence, and often they have no say in whether or not they come for counselling. Once they are in session, they have a choice of which area of healing to explore and how deeply and quickly (or slowly) they want to go, and even whether or not to participate in any particular invitation the therapist extends. We want to support the child to regain their sense of personal power and boundaries -- or in some cases, experience it for the first time.
The center currently offers individual sessions during the day or early evening, and on Saturdays. Group sessions will be available soon. In addition, caregivers and partners are welcome to have individual sessions to process their own feelings, improve communications skills with the child or youth, and learn more about the possible effects of sexual abuse or assault for that child or youth. It can be very helpful to learn some self-care skills, and to absorb what to expect from the healing process. Family and couples’ counselling is also available. New this year: a ten week psychoeducational group for parents and caregivers of children who have experienced sexual trauma will begin in March 2016.
SAFFRON Centre’s aim is always to reduce trauma symptoms, both emotional and somatic, and to address troublesome thoughts and behaviours. Children may report a reduction in nightmares, a feeling of increased confidence, or being happier.
Executive Director of SAFFRON, Katie Kitschke, has remarked that she loves hearing the sound of laughter coming from the playroom. She feels it is also, “exciting having the children (or their caregiver) report that the child wakes up early on therapy day and cannot wait to come.” This undoubtedly demonstrates the meaningful enjoyment that these children have to attend their program sessions!
For more information and to contact Saffron:
Toll Free: 1-888-416-7722
P: (780) 449-0900
F: (780) 416-2393